WARNER ROBINS -- Houston County exploded late in Thursday's rivalry contest against Veterans to storm back for a 10-6 non-region baseball win that evened the season series at 1-1.
Veterans (7-6, 1-1) took a 3-0 lead in the first after Leyton Pinckney cashed in a pair of costly two-out walks by depositing a fastball over the fence. Houston County got one back in the bottom of the inning, but found itself trailing 5-1 entering the bottom of the fifth.
The Bears (9-5, 3-0) put together three singles to lead off the inning and plated its second run on an RBI walk from Cole Simmons. Austin Hittinger followed him with sacrifice fly to left to narrow the gap even further before Veterans seemed to lose its composure.
Tony Locey's grounder up the middle was fielded and thrown into center field by starting pitcher Kyle Parry. Tyler Flewellyn then singled, scoring two runs, and then he came in on a three-base error by left fielder Josh Lee as the ball slipped underneath his glove.
Houston County scored four runs on three Veterans' errors in its final two at-bats.
THREE WHO MATTERED
Flewellyn: The senior came on in relief of starter D.L. Hall in the fifth and pitched two innings of one-run baseball to pick up the win. His two-RBI single in the fifth also gave Houston County the lead.
Pinckney: The big Veterans catcher gave the Warhawks a lead early on a three-run homer over the trees in left-center. He also narrowly missed a two-run shot in fifth that would have blown the game open.
Jake Fromm: Houston County's third baseman reached safely in all four plate appearances, singling twice and walking twice. He also scored two runs.
THEY SAID IT
Houston County head coach Jason Brett on the familiarity between the two teams: "They're a really good baseball team. We know what they're running out there night in and night out. The kids know each other. They know our tendencies and we know who can play. You don't really have to look at the scouting report to know who can do what or make phone calls to scout them."
Brett on the magnitude of the win: "This is a big win. It's big from a county standpoint because one of our goals every year is to win county. They want to sweep us and we want to sweep them, but we always split, it seems like. It's just two good teams battling."
Brett on his team's offensive explosion: "I don't think we've swung it bad all year, we just haven't had a ton to show for it. We talked a lot about plan, a lot about approach and a lot about focus. I told our guys that we've been swinging it out in batting practice and when we get hot, it's going to be fun."
Houston County travels to Gray for a key sub-region showdown against Jones County on Friday, while Veterans visits Baldwin.